A high school English teacher recently explained to me how she’s coping with the latest challenge to education in America: ChatGPT. She runs every student essay through five different generative AI detectors. She thought the extra effort would catch the cheaters in her classroom.
A clever series of experiments by computer scientists and engineers at Stanford University indicate that her labors to vet each essay five ways might be in vain. The researchers demonstrated how seven commonly used GPT detectors are so primitive that they are both easily fooled by machine generated essays and improperly flagging innocent students. Layering several detectors on top of each other does little to solve the problem of false negatives and positives.
“If AI-generated content can easily evade detection while human text is frequently misclassified, how effective are these detectors truly?” the Stanford scientists wrote in a July 2023 paper, published under the banner, “opinion,” in the peer-reviewed data science journal Patterns. “Claims of GPT detectors’ ‘99% accuracy’ are often taken at face value by a broader audience, which is misleading at best.”
The scientists began by generating 31 counterfeit college…